Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More August trivia

I've written before about two connections between the acclaimed Broadway play August: Osage County and the acclaimed television series Seinfeld. Well if you're keeping score at home, apparently there's a third link that I didn't realize until this weekend.

Both playwright Tracy Letts and actress Kimberly Guerrero, who plays Native American housekeeper Johnna Monevata in August: Osage County, appeared in separate, classic episodes of the sitcom. I was browsing through Tony winner Rondi Reed's list of credits on the Internet Movie Database, and saw that she also was in a Seinfeld episode, in 1995.

Reed appears in Season 6, in an episode titled "The Kiss Hello" that aired on Feb. 16, 1995. In this episode, Kramer decides to post pictures of all the tenants in the lobby of the building where he and Jerry live, so that everyone can get to know their neighbors, because that's the kind of world he wants to live in. Jerry would just as soon remain anonymous.

As Mary, one of those neighbors, Reed is instantly recognizable by her curly red hair. She only has a couple of lines - she asks Jerry to help her with a package at the very end of the episode. But she does get to give him a nice kiss on the cheek, prompting Jerry to tell Elaine, "See, that's just what I need, more kissing." (That plays into another plot strand: a friend of Elaine's loves to "kiss hello" everyone she meets, a practice that Jerry can't stand.)

Guerrero plays a Native American woman, Winona, whom Jerry dates in an episode from Season 5 called "The Cigar Store Indian," which originally aired on Dec. 9, 1993. And Letts has a very small, background role in "The Strike," an episode from Season 9 that aired on Dec. 18, 1997. It looms large in Seinfeld history because it's the famous "Festivus" episode.

So there you have it. Someday, when I write The Big Book of August: Osage County Trivia, this fascinating bit of information will be included. I wonder if Jerry's been to see the play?


DecaturHeel said...

Oh yeah, Letts was the guy behind the betting window whose phone number Elaine had been giving out as her own for years! Very good connection! And how timely of you to mention Festivus...its official date is Dec. 23, so it's less than six months away...gulp! Time to get in shape for the feats of strength!

Esther said...

Thanks for the comment Decaturheel! Are you sure Tracy Letts plays the guy at the betting window? I thought he was the counterguy at H&H Bagels, where Kramer used to work. I'll have to watch it again. And you're right, Festivus is just around the corner! That was a great episode. And "The Cigar Store Indian" is great, too. Jerry Stiller really makes both of them so hilarious!